CreArte, Retreat for the Arts, offers workshops which focus on Painting and Creativity. The workshop series allows time for personal explorations, activities, and ruminations. Our instructional workshops take place during the mornings, from 9:00 - 12:30. Instruction in painting and creativity is taught by CreArte founders, artists and teachers Erin Prucha, Cindy Kennedy, Ashlie Gaos. As well, each art retreat features a noted international or Costa Rican Guest Artist. Our intention is to expose our guests to a variety of subject matters and teaching approaches.

Patrick Fanning, an excellent watercolorist and all around nice guy, has taught with CreArte 3 years in a row. Patrick Fanning is a landscape watercolorist who specializes in ‘plein air’, or painting outdoors on location. Patrick teaches ongoing and weekend workshops all over Sonoma County and recently opened a gallery in Graton. He is interested in composition--ways to go beyond the usual discussion of center of interest, foreground and background, line/color/value contrast, and so on. His wonderfully clear demonstrations and positive teaching approach attract many different types of people with various levels of art experience. For more on Patrick Fanning, visit his website at

Painting on the Platform at Alegria . . .

Patrick Fanning

Safe, by Patrick Fanning

Classes include: Flash (getting it down as fast as you can!), Painting the Tropics, Latin Color, Bridge to Abstraction (the close up), and Watercolor Landscape.

During our workshops participants will learn and practice, exploring different techniques and materials including issues of light and color, composition and theme. We also explore approaches to your art, working with methods for stimulating and encouraging creativity.

The afternoons allow time for personal work and practice, or time to relax and explore the local surrounding. The instructors are always present in the afternoons in order to provide time for questions, guidance, and feedback. The program is structured to encourage each individual's pursuits and to provide support and encouragement.
Evenings are a time for relaxation or work, depending on the individual. On several evenings we will gather for group dinners served at the wonderful restaurants located in both Dominical and Samara. We will have slide talks and group discussions on the arts including the personal work of participants. Our goal is to facilitate conversation which includes the sharing of ideas, problems, and solutions regarding the creative process and one's work, and to provide insights and feedback. Instructors facilitate, but we see ourselves as a part of the group rather than as outside leaders. We encourage everyone to bring slides or pictures or their work to share in these evening discussions!

Cynthia Kennedy, Oil on Canvas
Walking in the Stars,
Samara Beach
CreArte also seeks to incorporate the beautiful flora, fauna, rich history and warm oceans of Costa Rica into your experience. We will make several outings exploring the local area and we also make an all day group excursion which is lead by a trained and knowledgeable guide exploring the ecology of Costa Rica.

Las Esferas, a mysterious
archeological site near Dominical

At the end of the course we hold a Final Art Exhibition. This provides an opportunity for everyone to view each artists' work and to share insights into each participant's creative process during the workshop. The exhibition will be open to the local residents of the small towns as well in order to extend the idea of collaboration further into the community. A final celebration follows with dancing and festivities!

"Soda" by Patrick Fanning, 2002

, Retreat for the Arts, offers workshops in painting and creativity
in a non-competitive and inspiring environment!

The Arts Our programs are developed to explore both technical skills and the creative process. Our focus is on renewing and awakening the creative process while at the same time developing skills and techniques. Workshops explore a variety of mediums, including painting, drawing, and watercolor. Our goal is to help you find your inspiration to create and to encourage a deeper awareness of your own artistic process. We welcome artists of all levels, from the beginner to advanced!

In addition to this is the experience of collaboration - working together with others for inspiration and education. Collaboration does not only imply working on the same project together. It also signifies an interrelationship between artists in the form of inspiration and desire to teach one another. This is what we facilitate at CreArte.

Instructors - Workshops are taught by Costa Rican and foreign artists and educators who are dedicated to the vision of the creative arts as a means to a deeper understanding of the self and the world.

El Caribe by Ashlie Gaos

Samara Beach by Patrick Fanning

Self Portrait, Erin Prucha

Each session offers the opportunity to work with three artists, the founders, plus additional guest artists. Many of our guest artists are from Costa Rica, giving you a chance to work with locals and feel connected to the location. We also invite experienced artists from abroad to share their vision and expertise, such as Patrick Fanning, watercolorist, Lucia Madriz, multi-media artist, and Patricia Erickson, painter.

Ecology Costa Rica is home to a host of delicately balanced rain forests, cloud forests, marine preserves and wildlife. In addition to the arts, CreArte arranges educational tours and lectures on conservation and awareness of the environment. Our wish is to provide people with the opportunity to become familiar with Costa Rican environmental issues and to learn about the local flora and fauna

.During your retreat you will have the opportunity to visit one of the local National Parks and will be accompanied by trained guides and naturalists. The tours, transportation, and guides are all arranged by CreArte.

Recreation With the beach, jungle and rivers at your fingertips, there are endless possibilities for outdoor adventures and fun. Surfing is a local favorite activity. Our locations in Zancudo, Samara and Dominical facilitate easy travel to various extraordinary places such as waterfalls, National Parks, and archeological sites. We can also arrange for a variety of activities such a horseback riding, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, and scuba diving, as well as longer excursions such as river rafting and canopy tours. (Please note - recreational activities are arranged at an extra cost).

Apart from the outdoor activities, you may prefer to chat with the locals, go salsa dancing or just relax!

You will be in Costa Rica, where Spanish is the spoken language. This offers a wonderful opportunity to practice your language skills. We offer a special package which includes 5 days of full immersion Spanish through Intercultura, renowned Spanish Institute and Cultural Center. The cost is $350. If you are interested in extending your classes in Spanish, we would be happy to arrange it for you. Please see dates and prices for more details on the Language/Arts package.

The experience of traveling to another place, leaving your routine behind, and immersing yourself in a new, stimulating environment is an important ingredient for creativity!

  • Workshops have taken place in 3 beautiful locations along the pacific coast of Costa Rica - in the tranquil village of Samara, the lush rain forest town of Dominical and the private tropical beach town of Zancudo.
  • For the next retreat in Samara, the cost includes lodging in a lovely hotel with 2 pools (double occupancy, single available with supplement).
  • 2 meals a day are included.
  • Instruction in the arts incorporates training in technique and materials, with a focus on the creative process.
  • Our groups are small, ranging from 5-15 people, in order to foster a sense of community and collaboration.
  • All day tour exploring Costa Rica with trained local guides is included.
  • Recreational opportunities are available for an extra fee, such as surfing, horseback riding, snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving and more!
  • Spanish immersion classes available.
  • Instruction is in English.
Finally, CreArte will be developing a coffee-table book that will present the creative work of the participants throughout the different workshops. You may be asked if we can photograph you while you are working and your artwork. We will not do this without prior approval. This book will serve as a document of your time with us, as well as a means to disseminate to others what the group explores and uncovers. It is yet another step in the collaborative process.

Upon receiving your reservation form and deposit, we will send you a Welcome Packet, which includes information on what to bring: clothing, supplies, art materials, etc., as well as a specific itinerary for each course.

Samara, by Patrick Fanning

Self Portrait, by Ashlie Gaos

Samara Beach
Pacific Coast, Costa Rica

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